Big Data to Analyze Impact of Environmental Toxins on Young Population

Big Data

Photo by: AdinaVoicu via Pixabay


Researchers from Rice University in Texas, USA have recently won a grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop data analysis tools to help them analyze how mixed toxins found in the environment affect children.

As the largest biomedical research agency in the world, NIH granted $1.7 million to the research team headed by Marie Lynn Miranda, the school’s Howard R. Hughes Provost and statistics professor. The team will reportedly analyze the big data they have gathered in the entire North Carolina State for the past two decades, according to medicine and research facility, the Texas Medical Center.

The data they have gathered include blood lead levels of young people ages 1 to 6, birth records, air pollution, educational system, and housing quality. The Rice team said that information from these records will give them the idea where the children have resided and what their environments were during such time. The massive data will also improve the ability of the research team to distinguish the environmental exposures, residential stability, and social stressors.

Miranda hopes that the assessment of the collected data with the use of modern architecture data, machine learning, and statistical methods, will reveal how environmental mixtures exposure shaped the children’s educational outcomes. The data will also help them determine the subtle impact of the population across time and space.

Miranda said that it has been a long time since they’ve considered every person’s environmental exposures and figured out the impact it will have on the health of individuals. “We’ve come to understand that people are not exposed to contaminants one at a time,” she said. Instead, people are often exposed to various contaminants “at the same time.”